A simple health check you should try today
Thursday, February 8, 2018. Author Geraldine Campbell
Thursday, February 8, 2018. Author Geraldine Campbell
Sitting and rising from the floor may sound like a basic skill, but it’s one that reflects many components of fitness, including your muscular strength and power, coordination, balance, body composition, and flexibility.
Devised in the late ‘90s by a Brazilian physician, Dr. Claudio Araújo, the Sitting-Rising Test (SRT) assesses a person’s health and fitness by quantifying the level of balance and number of supports (e.g. a hand or knee) needed to successfully stand up from a cross-legged sitting position. The test requires little equipment (just yourself, some floor space and someone to observe you) and can be quickly completed, making it an easy and accessible test that you can do almost anywhere.
Performance on this test has been shown to correlate with risk of falling, lower body muscular strength and all-cause mortality risk. Furthermore, these correlations hold, even when controlling for BMI, age, and gender. Low SRT scores (which reflect a lower ability to stand up unsupported) are linked to lower survival rates over a 14-year follow up period, increased risk of falling, and poor lower body muscular strength  .
Interestingly, a one point improvement in score, has profound impacts on all-cause mortality, with a 21% reduction observed for each additional point, demonstrating the usefulness of this simple test for assessing overall health.
1. Stand upright and ensure you have enough space around you (clear away any potential hazards!)
2. Carefully lower yourself into a cross-legged sitting position. Try not to use your arms or hands as leverage or support.
3. Once stably seated, attempt to stand back up, trying not to use your hands or knees for support.
4. You have a total of 10 points: each additional support used (e.g. hand or knee) you lose one point, and half a point for any loss of balance during the movement.
Scores above 8 are very good and carry a low mortality risk. Scores below 8 are where declines in health and poorer prognoses start to appear. Those scoring three or less have a five-fold increase in their 6-year mortality risk .
Luckily there are things you can do to avoid low scores on the SRT and prevent or at least slow age-related declines in muscular strength and physical function. Resistance training could be the answer - aim for at least two resistance workouts a week [3-7] and keep your diet balanced and nutritious! Eat enough protein and essential vitamins and minerals (such as Vitamin D and Calcium) to keep your muscle and bones functioning optimally [8,9].
Try the Sitting Rising Test yourself and see if your score indicates that you need to work on your muscular strength and balance. If you have a low score, you may want to try unilateral training, either with weights or simply using your own bodyweight.
You could also try our Get Fit programs which include the vital component of resistance training and have both gym and home-based options.
If you enjoyed this blog, please read my other posts:
Lead Image courtesy of http://www.flexibilityrx.com/take-the-sitting-rising-test/
 De Brito, L. B. B., Ricardo, D. R., De Araújo, D. S. M. S., Ramos, P. S., Myers, J., & De Araújo, C. G. S. (2014). Ability to sit and rise from the floor as a predictor of all-cause mortality. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 21(7), 892–898. http://doi.org/10.1177/2047487312471759
 Kong Ho, C. C., Tan, W. P., Wong, J. H., Tan, H. M., Teo, C. H., & Ng, C. J. (2014). Men’s health index: A pragmatic approach to stratifying and optimizing men’s health. Korean Journal of Urology, 55(11), 710–717. http://doi.org/10.4111/kju.2014.55.11.710
 Middle Image Source: Roen Kelly/Discover  http://discovermagazine.com/2013/nov/05-sit-down
 Marques, E. A., Wanderley, F., Machado, L., Sousa, F., Viana, J. L., Moreira-Goncalves, D., … Carvalho, J. (2011). Effects of resistance and aerobic exercise on physical function, bone mineral density, OPG and RANKL in older women. Experimental Gerontology, 46(7), 524–532. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.exger.2011.02.005
 Vanni, A. C., Meyer, F., da Veiga, A. D. R., & Zanardo, V. P. S. (2010). Comparison of the effects of two resistance training regimens on muscular and bone responses in premenopausal women. Osteoporosis International : A Journal Established as Result of Cooperation between the European Foundation for Osteoporosis and the National Osteoporosis Foundation of the USA, 21(9), 1537–1544. http://doi.org/10.1007/s00198-009-1139-z
 Westcott, W. L. (2012). Resistance training is medicine: effects of strength training on health. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 11(4), 209–216. http://doi.org/10.1249/JSR.0b013e31825dabb8
 Daly, R. M. (2017). Exercise and nutritional approaches to prevent frail bones, falls and fractures: an update. Climacteric : The Journal of the International Menopause Society, 20(2), 119–124. http://doi.org/10.1080/13697137.2017.1286890
 Rizzoli, R., Stevenson, J. C., Bauer, J. M., van Loon, L. J. C., Walrand, S., Kanis, J. A., … Reginster, J.-Y. (2014). The role of dietary protein and vitamin D in maintaining musculoskeletal health in postmenopausal women: a consensus statement from the European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis (ESCEO). Maturitas, 79(1), 122–132. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.maturitas.2014.07.005